Tag Archives: Tamoxifen

The Importance of the Young Investigator

In 1990, when we started The Eva Brownman Breast Cancer Fund at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, we provided seed money for the tamoxifen research being done by Dr. Judy Garber. Dr. Garber was then a young investigator.
Dr. Garber is now internationally known for your work in the field of breast cancer.  She is the Director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber and a professor at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Garber’s  extensive research and work in the field of breast cancer has changed the lives of women throughout the world.
As we look back as well as …

 

Five Year Milestone

A couple of weeks ago marked the five-year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. It has brought up many feelings, both positive and negative about my diagnosis and treatment (both physical and mental). It was a great time to reflect on how far I have come both physically and emotionally from the shock and devastation of diagnosis, and the accompanying months of treatment.
Life before and after cancer have been vastly different for me. I know that my age likely made a big difference in how I think about this time – I was 28 at the time of diagnosis – …

 

Hot Summer, Hot Flashes

Last night was the first time I have slept through the night in more than a week. Every summer since beginning tamoxifen in 2008, I have had at least one instance of a week or two where my hot flashes and night sweats are so bad that I can’t sleep well for days on end. The pattern is that I will sleep for about an hour, wake up sweltering and sweaty, kick off the blankets, fall back asleep for 10 minutes, and then wake back up freezing and cover up. Repeat eight times and that’s my night. Sound familiar?
It’s important …

 

Unrealistic Expectations

Other than the shock of my initial diagnosis, I would say that the hardest time for me emotionally came when I was about a year out from diagnosis. I spent so much time mentally preparing for my surgeries, chemo and radiation that by the end of my treatment, I was traumatized and didn’t really know how to go on – go back to work, back to my regular life. I felt like a different person – and I certainly didn’t look like myself.
I remember thinking throughout treatment that I could do this for a year. I kept the ‘year mark’ …

 

Food for Thought

The American Cancer Society recently released the results of a new study on diet and exercise and the effect it can have on cancer recurrence. Read more about the newest guidelines for cancer survivors here.
For me, one of the most interesting points was mentioned in the Q&A section:
Should cancer survivors include soy-based foods in their diet?
Soy foods are an excellent source of protein and can be a good option for meals without meat. Soy contains many phytochemicals, some of which have weak estrogen activity and seem to protect against hormone-dependent cancers in animal studies. Other compounds in soy have antioxidant …

 

Dieting After Breast Cancer

I have never been a thin woman. I stand at less than five feet tall and carry most of my weight in my upper body. Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt OK about my body – dieting here and there, but not taking my health or nutrition seriously at all. I was, after all, still in my 20s. Breast surgery certainly slowed down my workouts and I began to put on weight. Chemo stopped my exercising entirely and I gained a bit more weight. Once treatment was over, I worked hard to get down to my precancer …

 

Why Me?

Recently I was reading a blog about breast cancer and came across the website http://www.y-me.org/ which is designed to emotionally support those diagnosed with breast cancer. I called the hotline for more information about volunteering to be one of the peer counselors. Since I am 4 ½ years out from diagnosis, I didn’t think there was much that these people could help me with, but I was wrong. In addition to talking about how I can volunteer to help others, the counselor I spoke with offered to send me some information on fear of recurrence. It is certainly something I …

 

A Wig Wizard

When chemo takes your hair, you need a pro to fit and style your wig so it doesn’t look like you are wearing a hair hat!
You need a wig wizard, a professional who can make selecting that first ever wig less uncomfortable and confusing at a time when you are feeling most vulnerable.
You want a professional who can talk you through what you want in a wig…something that is almost an exact replica of how you usually wear your hair or an entirely different look that can be passed off as “something new.”
Although I’ve had breast cancer twice, I didn’t …

 

Tamoxifen…A Five -Year Trip

Following my lumpectomy and radiation for my first cancer, my oncologist was so happy to tell me that my tumor was estrogen positive and I could take Tamoxifen to help prevent a recurrence. He made it sound like I had won the lottery. “Just take one pill a day for five years,” he said. After what I had been through in the previous six months, taking  a pill a day seemed like a walk in the park.
When I returned for my three-month check up I was five pounds heavier and had a spare tire of fat forming around my midriff. …

 

Breast Cancer…A Head Trip

The toughest part of my first breast cancer, in 1999, was not the surgery, or the radiation, or even the five years on Tamoxifen. It was coping with the fears it set off.   I lived alone; could I take care of myself during treatment?  I needed to support myself; could I work during treatment? After treatment, the ifs set in – what if I get a recurrence or a new cancer in the other breast and need a mastectomy? What if I want to change jobs, will I be able to get insurance or will this be considered a preexisting condition? I …